Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives honors CIW with its 2018 Human Rights Award!

One of the country’s most storied human rights organizations honors CIW for its “innovative organizing and profound impact on the lives of farmworkers…”

Today we have the honor of sharing some very good news.

Just this morning, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) announced that it has chosen the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to receive its prestigious ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism for 2018.  For nearly forty years, ALBA has worked to educate the public about the brave volunteers — including thousands of Americans — of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and their fight against fascism in Spain before World War II.  As a vital part of their efforts to keep the spirit of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade alive, ALBA administers the annual award of one of the world’s largest monetary prizes for human rights, helping fuel movements for justice and freedom around the world today.  Here is ALBA’s mission, in their own words:

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights. ALBA’s work is inspired by the American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).  Drawing on the ALBA collections in New York University’s Tamiment Library, and working to expand such collections, ALBA works to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations.

Inspired by the anti-fascist activism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, ALBA works toward a more widespread, profound, and nuanced awareness of the history of America’s progressive traditions among high school students, college students, scholars, and the public at large. We hope and intend that this awareness will allow progressive communities in the United States and elsewhere to develop effective strategies to meet the present and future challenges faced by the world, and to work more consciously and effectively toward a better and more just society.null

We are honored to be among the many courageous human rights activists who have received this award, a cohort that ranges from Latin American judges who have helped bring some of the world’s most brutal dictators to justice, to U.S.-based social movements like United We Dream.  Here below is the press release announcing the award in its entirety:

ALBA honors the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for its innovative organizing and profound impact on the lives of farmworkers

New York—On May 12, 2018, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) will present the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in support of their continued efforts to protect the rights of agricultural workers, prevent involuntary servitude, and create a food supply chain that is fair from bottom to top.  One of the largest monetary awards for human rights in the world, this $100,000 cash prize is granted annually by ALBA and the Puffin Foundation in honor of the 3,000 Americans who volunteered in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to fight fascism under the banner of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Founded in 1993 by a small group of workers who had been meeting in a church, the CIW fought to improve the lives of tomato pickers in Southern Florida. After years of organizing in Immokalee, in 2001, the CIW launched the first ever boycott of a national fast food company—Taco Bell. Four years later, the company agreed to support wage increases and workplace protections for tomato pickers. Since then, food corporations, including McDonalds, Burger King, Whole Foods, Subway, and Walmart have followed suit and reached agreements with the CIW. Today, 14 of the world’s largest food retailers and restaurants have signed fair food agreements with the CIW.

Building off these unprecedented agreements, the CIW created a revolutionary program to make the agriculture supply system more equitable: The Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking partnership among farmworkers, food retailers, and growers to ensure decent wages, safe working conditions, and a real voice on the job for farmworkers. The program, which today spans seven states and three crops, has virtually eliminated some of the industry’s worst human rights abuses from participating farms, including sexual violence and slavery.

“The Fair Food Program has proven itself to be a uniquely effective solution to the scourge of slavery and other human rights abuses in agriculture,” said CIW Member Julia de la Cruz. “Even more recently, the program has provided a success model for ending sexual violence in the age of #MeToo, as the country seeks to combat sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.”

“In its commitment to social justice and human dignity the CIW keeps alive the same values that motivated the women and men who stood up to fascism in the Spanish Civil War” said Fraser Ottanelli, Chair of ALBA’s board. The ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism is an initiative to sustain the legacy of the experiences, aspirations and idealism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It supports contemporary international activists and human rights causes. The award was created by visionary and philanthropist Perry Rosenstein, President of the Puffin Foundation, who established an endowed fund for this human rights award in 2010.

Award Ceremony: Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Japan Society, 333 E 47th St

New York, NY 10017